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WE DID IT! So excited to make & do everything that you've made possible through this campaign. THANK YOU!
WE DID IT! So excited to make & do everything that you've made possible through this campaign. THANK YOU!
1,452 backers pledged $82,640 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Level Up: A Music Video For the New Album AIMS project video thumbnail
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$82,640

1,452

ALL STRETCH GOALS ACHIEVED!

This project has blown past every goal I could imagine to set for it. Over 1,400 backers. Over 400% of the original $ target. 

More importantly, this project has connected us with each other in amazing ways. I've never experienced the artist-audience bond in quite this way before. I've asked, you've responded; you've asked, I've responded. We've made it all up as we've gone along. We've pulled in friends from around the country and around the globe. We've had a good laugh, and cheered, and supported friends and strangers alike. We've helped each other's dreams come true. 

And the journey's far from over—over the next several months I'll be giving you the best in me in various ways. I hope that it's worthy of all the generosity you've shown.

Thank you. 

Onward!
VT

UPDATE: ONE FINAL STRETCH GOAL

Taking a page from Carsie Blanton's book, here's an idea for some Kickstarter final-hours fun: 

If we reach either 1,400 backers or $80,000 (whichever comes first), I'll perform in ALL of the following countries in 2014: 

  • Canada (Toronto + Vancouver, possibly other cities)
  • Singapore
  • The Philippines
  • Taiwan
  • China
  • Japan 

...plus Australia, where one $5K backer already has me traveling.

Love,
VT 

[NOTE: I've never booked any gigs in Asia before, so I don't yet know what sorts of challenges are involved. I'll definitely visit each of the above countries, and I'll definitely sing my songs somewhere—maybe in a music venue, maybe as a free house concert. Or both.] 


UPDATE: 1K, 1.1K and 1.2K STRETCH GOALS ACHIEVED!

Wow.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Can you still back the project? Of course.
Should you? Well, here's what some folks have been saying about the backer updates:

"That was the best and most entertaining Kickstarter update I've ever seen."

"I am enjoying your extras so much I just quadrupled my pledge. I'm glad this project is not only raising money but also helping you explore your creativity too."

"I know this is for backers only, but once the campaign is over, this is too good not to share with the rest of the world."

Pledging $1 gets you all backer updates—past, present & future. Join us!

Love,
VT

UPDATE: STRETCH GOALS!

As I say in the pitch video up there, money isn't actually the main reason I'm on Kickstarter.

I'm doing this because I love what it means to crowdfund a project. We're celebrating the power of creating things together. Of pitching in to help turn an idea into a reality. And we're welcoming everyone to the table, whether you have $1 or $5,000 to spare, whether you live down the street or across the world.

So I've set some stretch goals for the final days of this campaign—measured not in dollars, but by how many people join us. Even $1 pledges count. And I need your help to get the word out.

Here's what will happen if we get to...

  • **ACHIEVED** 1,000 backers: We'll make a behind-the-scenes documentary of the Level Up music video!
  • **ACHIEVED** 1,100 backers: We'll make an Aims tour trio live-in-studio performance video.
  • **ACHIEVED** 1,200 backers: We'll design a commemorative graphic of the Kickstarter campaign that you can print on anything you want (t-shirt, poster, coffee mug, etc). Plus—data geek alert!—we'll survey backers with fun questions and release an anonymized dataset of the whole campaign.

Also: new and replenished rewards!

  • $150+: Email feedback on your own work
  • $200+: Care package from me with handwritten note
  • $300+: Cover song of your choice (send me a message to be notified when these go live—they'll go as quickly as the first batch!)
  • $5,000+: Spend a day with me! 

Spread the word. Let's do this.

Love,
VT

***

HOLY MOLY. 100% funded in under 5 hours. 200% funded in less than a week. I am stunned and humbled. THANK YOU.

Where will the extra funds go? I'm still thinking carefully about stretch goals. A fun additional project might materialize, but your generosity might be best served simply by our making this music video—and your experience of this Kickstarter campaign—as good as we possibly can.

For now: we're definitely going to make the video even more awesome (professional choreographer and dancers! sets with moving parts!), and additional funds will go toward paying off album recording costs—which I've been paying out of my own savings and lines of credit, so I'm incredibly grateful for this outpouring of support.

Thank you for the life you give me.

Love,
VT

***

Hello music lover! 

I just finished my new album, Aims. It comes out on September 24. I had a fine time wrangling global events and personal demons into these dense little pop songs, and I can't wait to share them with you. (In fact you can already check out some of the music here.)

There's one song in particular that I really want you to experience in visual form. It's called Level Up—it's the opening track of the album, and it sets the stage for everything that follows. And I know there's an audience for this: the last time I put out a music video, it got over half a million views on YouTube.

Making a video for Level Up is an artistic endeavor, just like the album, but unlike Aims, I can't sell copies of the video to earn back the expenses of creating it. Which means it's a perfect fit for Kickstarter—for asking you to help make it happen.

WHO'S THE DIRECTOR THIS TIME?

I'm thrilled to be collaborating with Lawrence Chen, whose work is thought-provoking, full of multilayered stories, and strikingly beautiful...exactly the qualities I strive for when I make music. If you haven't seen his videos for Alex Wong's "Oceanside" or Delta Rae's "Bottom of the River," please stop reading now and go watch them. I'll wait.

See, wasn't that worth it? So, so good.

Lawrence and I have been brainstorming for several months now, and we already have a complete concept, storyline and shooting schedule. All we need is your support to give it the final green light.

WHY A $20,000 MUSIC VIDEO? WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?

We want to make something that will stand on its own—a work of art that you'll want to explore over and over again. (Lawrence and I are both big Michel Gondry fans, as it turns out.) Building a world like that requires equipment, space, materials, permits. Most of all, it requires a team of talented creative people, and we want to pay them fairly for their work. Our budget is super-modest by record label standards, but it'll allow us to realize our vision without cutting any corners, and it won't require any professionals to donate their time.

Here's the breakdown of estimated costs:

  • Pre-Production: $2,500
  • Crew: $3,500
  • Locations: $3,250
  • Props: $1,800
  • Logistics: $1,250
  • Travel & Transportation: $500
  • Talent: $750
  • Cameras & Lighting: $2,150
  • Visual Effects: $1,200
  • Editing: $2,300
  • Color: $800

For the math-savvy among you: yes, that's exactly $20,000, and doesn't account for Kickstarter's (well-deserved) 5% cut or credit card fees. I'm ready to put in my own money to cover those costs—but with your help, we can spread the word and exceed our fundraising goal!

WHAT DO I GET FOR BACKING THE PROJECT?

I'll be sending out updates throughout the campaign and the journey to the finished product: photos from on set, phone-camera videos, maybe the occasional hand-drawn infographic. We'll be kicking off the Aims tour soon, so you'll get updates from rehearsal and general thoughts about the album too.

You can become a backer and receive updates for as little as $1. A $5 pledge gets you a download link to a recording of Level Up as soon as the campaign ends, complete with lyrics and background notes. Beyond that there are lots of one-of-a-kind items (Polaroids from the set, custom cover songs, phone calls from tour), and you can pre-order Aims in various formats as a way of supporting this project. Check out detailed descriptions of all the reward levels below. If you start getting choice overload, may we suggest:

  • $15 (new pledge level!) Live Online Q&A
  • $20 Video + Album Download
  • $100 Video Stills + Aims Superfan Combo (deluxe CD + USB drive + other goodies)
  • $200 Care Package (my favorite books/CDs/foods + handwritten note)
  • $500 Your Name/Image In the Video (+ lots of other stuff)

Thanks for reading, and please help spread the word! Remember, with Kickstarter, it's all or nothing—either we hit our fundraising target or we get $0. Let's make this happen!

REWARDS IN DETAIL

Ready to pick your pledge level? Awesome.

$5 (Kickstarter Exclusive): SONG DOWNLOAD

A digital download of the song and its story! You'll get a link to the full-quality audio file of Level Up, along with an image of handwritten lyrics and notes on what inspired it. You'll get these immediately after the campaign ends—weeks before the album is officially released.

$10 (Kickstarter Exclusive): VIDEO DOWNLOAD

A digital download of the Level Up video immediately after it's completed, and your name in the credits on viennateng.com! Get your own high-resolution copy of what we've made, and etch your name on the Internet for posterity: you made this happen. (Plus the advance song download.)

$15 (Kickstarter Exclusive): LIVE ONLINE Q&A

[Note: new pledge level—originally $50.] Join one of three question-and-answer sessions on Google Hangouts on Air about the concept behind the Level Up video, writing/recording Aims, or anything else you want to know! Submit your question in advance or ask me during the session—either way, you're guaranteed I'll answer. Dates & times TBD, but the three sessions will accommodate different time zones and work schedules. Video archive of all sessions will be on YouTube afterwards. Plus all digital download rewards above.

$15: ALBUM DOWNLOAD

A digital download of the whole album Aims! You'll get the download link right on release date, September 24. Note: this is the same item as the $10 pre-order on Bandcamp + $5 for the advance song download.

$20: ALBUM CD

A Zero Carbon Footprint Digipak™ CD of Aims, shipped to arrive on or before release date, September 24. Note: this is the same item as the $12 pre-order on Bandcamp + $8 for shipping and the advance song download.

$20: VIDEO + ALBUM DOWNLOAD

Combo pack! (You still get the advance song download too.)

$40: ALBUM DELUXE CD

The eco-pack CD tucked into a beautiful hardbound booklet of artwork and liner notes, with a pocket for your own items—concert tickets, secret notes, etc. Note: this is the same item as the $25 pre-order on Port Merch + $15 for shipping and all digital download rewards above.

$40: ALBUM USB DRIVE

A recycled (yay!) 2 GB drive printed with album cover art, loaded with Aims in MP3, FLAC and WAV formats, a PDF version of the album artwork, and other goodies. Also entitles you to download one live show recording from the Aims release tour! Note: this is the same item as the $25 pre-order on Port Merch + $15 for shipping and all digital download rewards above.

$50 (Kickstarter Exclusive): VIDEO STILLS

Lawrence will pick some particularly lovely shots from the Level Up video, which you'lll get as a set of high-quality still prints. We'll only make as many as are ordered through this campaign, so this is a very limited-edition item. Plus all digital download rewards above.

$70: AIMS SUPERFAN PACKAGE

A signed deluxe CD, USB drive, autographed limited-edition photo, and a set of Aims tour posters/postcards. Note: this is the same item as $50 pre-order on Port Merch + $20 for shipping and all digital download rewards above.

$100 (Kickstarter Exclusive): SIGNED VIDEO MEMORABILIA

A one-of-a-kind Polaroid from the video shoot, plus the only-for-Kickstarter set of still prints, both autographed by yours truly. Plus all digital download rewards above.

$100: VIDEO STILLS + AIMS SUPERFAN COMBO

Video and album goodies rolled into one über-package! That's a $20 savings, if you're the value-shopper type. Note: the deluxe CD will be signed and arrive with other Aims items by September 24; video stills will arrive later, sans autograph. Plus all digital download rewards above.

$150 (Kickstarter Exclusive): PHONE CALL **SOLD OUT**

I'll ring you—or anyone else you like—from tour! I did some phone calls over the holidays last year (donations went to Kopernik projects), and loved getting to know people in more depth. Surprise birthday wishes were especially fun. Fine print: I'll try to chat for at least 30 minutes, not including technical issues; however, tour schedules may sometimes intervene. Skype's preferred for international calls. You also get the $100 Video Stills + Aims Superfan combo if you want it, plus all the digital download rewards it includes.

Oh hey, you're still reading. That's wonderful. Here, listen to the demo and final versions of another song on Aims.

$150 (Kickstarter Exclusive): EMAIL FEEDBACK ON YOUR OWN WORK

Send anything you've created—song, college application essay, poem, book chapter, anniversary love letter, etc.—and I'll email you with constructive feedback (or just detailed encouragement, if you prefer). Feel free to ask me to focus on specific things and I'll be sure to pay attention to the aspects you want to hone. Looking forward to supporting you in your own creativity! Plus all digital downloads above.

$200 (Kickstarter Exclusive): COVER SONG **SOLD OUT**

I'll learn a cover song just for you! Pick a song by another artist and I'll record it during soundcheck on tour (might even make it part of our regular concert set, if it strikes our fancy). Recording includes an optional dedication intro. You also get the $100 Video Stills + Aims Superfan combo if you want it, plus all the digital download rewards it includes. Note: does not include the phone call.

$200 (Kickstarter Exclusive): CARE PACKAGE

More goodies in the mail! I'll send you one each of my favorite books, CDs, and shippable food items or (or a souvenir from Detroit, if sending you food isn't practical), and enclose a handwritten note. Also includes the set of video stills, and all digital download rewards above.

$300 (Kickstarter Exclusive): COVER SONG, 2ND EDITION

[Note: back the project and send me a message to be notified when these will go live—they're sure to disappear as quickly as the first batch!] 

I'll learn a cover song just for you! Pick a song by another artist and I'll record it during soundcheck on tour (might even make it part of our regular concert set, if it strikes our fancy). Recording includes an optional dedication intro. You also get the $100 Video Stills + Aims Superfan combo if you want it, plus all the digital download rewards it includes.

$500 (Kickstarter Exclusive): YOUR NAME/IMAGE IN THE VIDEO

Your chance to be part of the world of Level Up! We'll incorporate your name or image into one of the scenes: a framed picture on a dresser, an author name on a book, etc. And of course we'll tell you where you are, so you can freeze the video at just the right moment to show all your friends. You also get the $100 Video Stills + Aims Superfan combo pack if you want it, plus all the digital download rewards it includes. Note: does not include the cover song or phone call.

$500 (Kickstarter Exclusive): PRIVATE STAGEIT SHOW **SOLD OUT**

Hint: get a group of friends together to split the cost! I'll set up at a piano somewhere and give a live video streaming performance of anything you want me to play. Let me know in advance if I should learn any covers or dust off any rarities. Plus all the digital download rewards above—does not include the phone call or your name/image in the video.

$1,000 (Kickstarter Exclusive): VISIT THE SET + THANK YOU VIDEO

If you can attend the shoot in person,* come get your bear hug—and maybe even appear in the music video itself! Whether you attend or not, you'll also get a custom video clip of me on set, saying "[YOUR NAME HERE], thanks for making all this possible!" and any other brief message you want me to immortalize. Also includes any of the above rewards that you want, even if the limited ones are sold out. *Video shoot will be in New York City on Saturday September 21 (plus rehearsal on Friday, additional filming on Sunday). Your travel expenses not included.

$5,000 (Kickstarter Exclusive): SPEND A DAY WITH ME

In gratitude, I'll travel to wherever you are in the world to hang out all day with you—and your family, friends, whomever you want to invite along! Lunch and dinner on me, and I'll cover my own travel expenses. If you have a piano, I'll gladly play an all-request private concert. If you like silly board/card/video games, we'll get along splendidly. Oh, and you get any of the above rewards that you want, even if the limited ones are sold out.

Fine print: scheduling subject to availability, but we'll try to make it happen by August 2014 at the latest. I'll cover restaurant meals for up to 6 people, or a comparable grocery bill if we opt to cook (lots more fun, in my opinion). Also, safety precautions and travel restrictions apply. If you live in a remote jungle village somewhere, I may bring a Navy Seal friend and ask you to cover our bush-plane flight.

Risks and challenges

Lawrence is an experienced filmmaker who knows how to make a great final product, on schedule and within budget. We're confident that this video will be made if it's funded. But here's a guarantee to set your mind at ease: if we don't have a completed video released to the public by February 2014, we'll refund all contributions to this Kickstarter campaign, regardless of any costs we've already incurred.

Also, FYI: pledge payments will go to an account held by Cynthia Shih, which is my birth name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Teng

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Awesome—you're helping us get to our stretch goal tally! You'll also get backer-only updates on the video shoot, the Aims album release & tour, and more.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** SONG DOWNLOAD! Audio download of Level Up, plus image of handwritten lyrics and back story.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** VIDEO DOWNLOAD! Your name in the credits on viennateng.com and a high-resolution download of the finished music video. (Plus Level Up song download.)

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    ALBUM DOWNLOAD! Just like the Bandcamp pre-order, plus Level Up song download.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** LIVE ONLINE Q&A! (Pledge level reduced from $50) Join one of three Google Hangouts on Air sessions—you're guaranteed an answer to your question. Video archive of all sessions will be on YouTube afterwards. Plus Level Up song download.

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    ALBUM CD! Just like the Bandcamp pre-order, plus Level Up song download.

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    ALBUM DELUXE CD! Just like the Port Merch pre-order, plus all digital download rewards above.

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    ALBUM USB DRIVE! Just like the Port Merch pre-order, plus all digital download rewards above.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** LIVE ONLINE Q&A! Join one of three Google Hangouts on Air sessions—you're guaranteed an answer to your question. Video archive of all sessions will be on YouTube afterwards. Plus all digital download rewards above.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** VIDEO STILLS! A set of prints from the Level Up video. We'll only print as many as are ordered through this campaign, so this is a very limited-edition item. Plus all digital download rewards above.

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    AIMS SUPERFAN PACKAGE! Deluxe CD + USB drive + other goodies. Just like the Port Merch pre-order, plus all digital download rewards above.

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    VIDEO STILLS + AIMS SUPERFAN COMBO! That's a $20 savings, for the value shoppers among you. Note: the deluxe CD will be autographed and will arrive by September 24; video stills will arrive later, sans autograph.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** SIGNED VIDEO MEMORABILIA! A one-of-a-kind Polaroid from the video shoot, plus a set of the limited-edition still prints, both signed by yours truly. Plus all digital download rewards above.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** PHONE CALL! I'll call you, or anyone you want, from tour. Also includes all Aims Superfan Package rewards if you wish.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** EMAIL FEEDBACK ON YOUR OWN WORK! I'll send comments on anything of yours you want to share with me: songs, college application essays, book chapters, etc. Plus all digital download rewards above.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** COVER SONG! Pick a song by another artist and I'll record it during soundcheck on tour, including a dedication. Also includes all Video Stills + Aims Superfan Combo rewards if you wish (does not include phone call).

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** CARE PACKAGE FROM ME! I'll mail you a book, a CD, and a food item or Detroit souvenir that I love, plus a handwritten note. Also includes the video stills (not autographed) and all digital download rewards above.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** COVER SONG, 2ND EDITION! Pick a song by another artist and I'll record it during soundcheck on tour, including a dedication. Also includes all Video Stills + Aims Superfan Combo rewards if you wish.

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** YOUR NAME/IMAGE IN THE VIDEO! We'll incorporate your name or image into one of the scenes: a framed picture on a dresser, an author name on a book, etc. Also includes all Signed Video Memorabilia and Aims Superfan Package rewards if you wish (does not include cover song or phone call).

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    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** PRIVATE STAGEIT SHOW! (Hint: get a group of friends together to split the cost.) All requests—let me know in advance if I should learn any covers or dust off any rarities. Plus all digital download rewards above (does not include phone call or your name/image in the video).

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** VISIT THE SET + THANK YOU VIDEO! If you can attend the shoot (in NYC, on a weekend in September)*, come hang out on set! Whether you attend or not, you'll get a custom video clip of me on set, thanking you and any other brief message you want me to immortalize. Also includes any of the above rewards that you want, even if the limited ones are sold out. *Travel expenses not included.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    **KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE** SPEND A DAY WITH ME! I'll travel to wherever you are to hang out, buy you lunch & dinner, give a private concert, play games, etc. Also includes any of the above rewards that you want, even if the limited ones are sold out.

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Funding period

- (21 days)